Amazon death of British journalist was ‘collateral damage’, vice president claims – World News

British journalist Dom Phillips was killed as “collateral damage”, Brazil’s vice president said, during what he claimed was a “drunk” attack on his travel partner Bruno Pereira.

The death of British journalist Dom Phillips was “collateral damage,” Brazil’s vice president said

The death of British journalist Dom Phillips has been called “collateral damage” by Brazil’s vice president during a “drunken” attack on his travel partner Bruno Pereira, an indigenous expert.

The pair were reported missing on June 5 after traveling by boat through the Javari Valley, a remote area bordering Peru and Colombia. An extensive police investigation led to the discovery of their bodies ten days later.

Mr. Phillips, a freelance reporter who had written for the Guardian and the Washington Post, was researching a book in the company of Mr. Pereira, a former senior official at the Funai Federal Bureau of Indigenous Affairs.

Police have said they were killed with hunting ammunition and their brutal killings shocked the world.

As the investigation continues with three people arrested, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao said he believes Mr Phillips died because he was with Mr Pereira, who had been targeted by the killers.







Kamuu Dan Wapichana, of the Wapichana tribe, sings during a protest demanding justice for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira

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REUTERS)

“If anyone has ordered the crime, it is a businessman in the region who feels hurt, mainly by Bruno’s actions,” Mourao said.

“Not Dom’s. Dom got caught up in this story. He was collateral damage.

“This is a crime, it was something that happened in an instant, almost like an ambush. Something that had been brewing for a while, so to speak. In my opinion it must have happened on Sunday. On Sundays, Saturdays, people drink, they get drunk – the same thing happens here in the poorer areas, on the outskirts of the big cities.”

Mourao, leader Jair Bolsonaro’s vice president who initially criticized Mr Phillips’ decision to go to the Amazon region where he died, did not say whether his comments were based on evidence.







Jeferson da Silva Lima, a third suspect in the murders, as he arrives for a hearing in Atalaia do Norte

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AFP via Getty Images)

But he added that in Brazil’s major cities, “every weekend people are being beaten and killed by knives, by gunshots, in the most cowardly ways, and normally it’s the result of what? Alcohol. So that’s what should be there.” have happened.”

His comments sparked angry reactions from the Univaja organization that represents the indigenous people in Brazil and where Pereira worked.

It said Mourao was not considering why Pereira was being targeted – that was because he was standing up to illegal activity in the region.

Univaja stated: “The vice president ignores the fact that the police investigation points to the existence of a criminal group organized to loot the natural resources of the indigenous land of Vale do Javari.”







Police are investigating the boat used by Mr Pereira and Mr Phillips

Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

The police investigation has now led to a fisherman, who confessed to being involved in the murders, taking part in a police reconstruction of the crime.

Broadcast footage shows police officers taking Amarildo da Costa Oliveira along the river where the murder took place and questioning him about what happened.

Costa said Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira had argued with Jeferson da Silva Lima, also a fisherman, who had clashed with Mr Pereira over his efforts to fight illegal fishing.

Pereira fought back after being shot at, Costa said, giving details of how the bodies were removed.

The police investigation is in full swing.

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